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Shirley man charged in illegal snake sales eyes going legit

Michael Ralbovsky, left, a herpetologist curator, and SPCA

Michael Ralbovsky, left, a herpetologist curator, and SPCA sergeant John Jordan hold two of the 6-foot Burmese pythons removed from the home of Richard Parrinello on Auborn Avenue in Shirley. (Sept. 19, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

A Shirley man charged with illegally selling hundreds of snakes from his garage is planning to open a legal reptile sales business and expects to return to his Brookhaven Town job, his attorney said Monday.

Richard Parrinello, 44, made national headlines in September when authorities said they found 850 snakes during a raid of his home. Brookhaven officials said Parrinello, a town animal control officer who had been under investigation in an alleged disability fraud, had no permits to operate a business at his home.

Parrinello's attorney, Andrew Vecere of Bohemia, said Monday the snakes were removed from the garage while Parrinello searched for a place to reopen his business, SnakeMan's Exotics. Parrinello hopes to return to his town job after he recovers from recent hand surgery, the attorney said.

"He has every intention of going back to work for the town as soon as he's medically cleared," Vecere said in a phone interview. "We've been cooperating with the town. They've been wonderful to deal with."

A town spokesman, Jack Krieger, said in an email that Parrinello "wishes to resolve all his issues with the town. We have reached out to his attorney and are awaiting a response."

Parrinello is seeking approval from an unspecified municipality to open a store outside his home, Vecere said, adding he did not know where the store would be. Parrinello also is seeking Brookhaven Town variances for heating and electrical systems he had installed in his garage without permits, Vecere said.

A state workers' compensation hearing on the alleged disability fraud has not been scheduled, Vecere said.

Parrinello paid a "minimal" fine for having two 6-foot Burmese pythons in the garage, Vecere said, adding a second charge alleging he possessed animal carcasses was dismissed.The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which brought the charges against Parrinello, referred questions to the Suffolk district attorney's office. A spokesman for the district attorney's office could not be reached for comment.

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